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A basic idea - feedback required

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I have this great idea for a game - I just need your point of view on it, how to improve it.[attention] This text might be a bit unclear, but if you have read it through entirely and still don't understand something, just ask.
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The idea The idea is to create a truely epic pvp-based MMO(rpg, tactics game) based around the medieval times. It’s a little bit like an RTS game, it’s just that everyone is 1 “unit”. The importance of yourself is based on how much power and money you have (eventually money is power, more about that later). The beginning You first create the looks of your character, and then you choose a kingdom you want to join, which are all visible on a map (more about kingdoms later). The world The world is totally random-generated. You can’t swim, so a bridge is needed for a river. Gathering recources You need resources to build walls, houses, lumber camps ect (more about this later). You can chop down trees, hunt deers and other animals with your bow and mine stone with a pickaxe. You can only carry 1 resource at a time, and you need to drop it off at a place where the resource is needed (this is always a building site or a storage site). Building sites You can create a building site with 1 piece of wood. At a building site things can be built, like a wall, lumber camp, keep, ect. (Think of this like it’s in an RTS). Every building needs different recources, like a lumber camp needs for example 3 wood, a stone wall needs 50 stone. When a building site has enough resources to have the thing built it’s created for, you can construct it (think of this like villagers do in Age of Empires. The more people that are constructing something, the faster it goes. Kingdoms When you own a keep (or town center) you are a King. You can get a keep by building a Keep constructing site or by having another king capture a keep and giving it to you (A king can’t own 2 keeps, so eventually when you gain control of another keep you have to give it away, to someone of your own kingdom or alliance ofcourse). Kings can have people join their kingdom (250 maximum for example, also depends on how many houses there are in and around your castle) and fight for them (reasons to fight would be: Stealing resources from other kingdoms, expanding your alliance (more about this later, for fun and any other reason you can think of). Alliances When a king creates an alliance, another king can join his alliance. Alliances have more power in the game, and can be bigger (250+250=500). Alliances can also be broken, which hopefully (haha) will lead to war. Lords A king can make inhabitants of his kingdom Lords. Lords can get people to join the kingdom, have more to say than people that aren’t lords, and have a bigger chance of getting a kingdom when the kingdom captures one. Stats Your stats depend entirely on your equipment. You have a good offense with a sharp sword, a good defense with a heavy armor and a good level of dexterity with a well-made leather or cloth armor.
Oh.. and this piece of text has my © on it [wink]

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Sounds like a great idea, that would make a great game if it's executed correctly.

I could nitpick at this or that, and try to contribute little ideas, but it really isn't necessary.

I imagine this like a beefed up version of guilds present in most mmorpg's.
I only see one major issue- unless you make it flexible, people will get bored. Sure, the king will be having fun, maybe the knights when fighting eventually occurs. But what about the guys playing villagers?

I look forward to your response. ;)

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Original post by crazyishone
Sounds like a great idea, that would make a great game if it's executed correctly.

I could nitpick at this or that, and try to contribute little ideas, but it really isn't necessary.

I imagine this like a beefed up version of guilds present in most mmorpg's.
I only see one major issue- unless you make it flexible, people will get bored. Sure, the king will be having fun, maybe the knights when fighting eventually occurs. But what about the guys playing villagers?

I look forward to your response. ;)


Yeah - it is sort of a "beefed up version of guilds present in most mmorpg's". The thing is - it WILL be realy flexible. There are no rules (you can kill anyone, even from your own kingdom/alliance), and there will be many ways to entertain yourself when your kingdom is not at war (have to think about that).
About the villagers thing - a smart king gives some armor and weapons to his villagers and gets them to fight for him.

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Very similar designs have arisen - the problem occurs with balancing the system, and ensuring 'fun' for everyone. Bloodspear (my game)'s political system is vaguely similar to the one you describe (actually it's a bog-standard feudal system), but creating a 'you can build your own kingdom' game isn't really doable on a fixed playing area, as prime sites go rapidly. Randomly generating the geography is also not great if you're looking for a balanced game, which for an MMO for which you may intend to charge subscriptions is absolutely vital. You also need to provide the opportunity to rise to king to all players - although definitely not at the same time!

Allowing players to take over the management of existing kingdoms, fiefdoms and other estates IS doable. It's also complicated (but essential) to design the system in such a way that there is a distinct benefit to helping those under you (a king has to look after his subjects), and a penalty for not doing so. This ensures (to some extent) that the position is not abused, and that if it is abused, those under the abusive party can do something about it.

There's another problem with any player-driven political system and that's the one of online presence. You can't leave executive power unavailable or fixed if a player becomes king and then doesn't log in for months. You also have to balance the powers of players in executive positions against how stable you want the global playing environment to be - too much power and they can completely screw the game balance to an unrecoverable (server reset) position. Too little and the position is of no interest.

Secondly you're going to require NPC haulers, builders, whatever to balance and provide opportunity for players. This means an underlying economic / warfare AI and the associated trimmings and abstractions. Again, exceedingly difficult to balance on a random map.

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In some ways, this reminds me of Black & White. I don't know if you played that, but the specific pieces I thought of when reading this include: getting your creature to collect resources and take them to a location where they are stocked; having your creature and inhabitants construct building with the resources; and capturing kingdoms and having new citizens arrive (or stealing them from other kingdoms).

I enjoyed that game though, plus that's only single-player. I could also point out that at a high level like this, a lot of games sound similar. I could have also pointed out how games like Command & Conquer or Starcraft include resource collection for building and unit construction. :)

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Original post by _winterdyne_
Very similar designs have arisen - the problem occurs with balancing the system, and ensuring 'fun' for everyone. Bloodspear (my game)'s political system is vaguely similar to the one you describe (actually it's a bog-standard feudal system), but creating a 'you can build your own kingdom' game isn't really doable on a fixed playing area, as prime sites go rapidly. Randomly generating the geography is also not great if you're looking for a balanced game, which for an MMO for which you may intend to charge subscriptions is absolutely vital. You also need to provide the opportunity to rise to king to all players - although definitely not at the same time!

Allowing players to take over the management of existing kingdoms, fiefdoms and other estates IS doable. It's also complicated (but essential) to design the system in such a way that there is a distinct benefit to helping those under you (a king has to look after his subjects), and a penalty for not doing so. This ensures (to some extent) that the position is not abused, and that if it is abused, those under the abusive party can do something about it.

There's another problem with any player-driven political system and that's the one of online presence. You can't leave executive power unavailable or fixed if a player becomes king and then doesn't log in for months. You also have to balance the powers of players in executive positions against how stable you want the global playing environment to be - too much power and they can completely screw the game balance to an unrecoverable (server reset) position. Too little and the position is of no interest.

Secondly you're going to require NPC haulers, builders, whatever to balance and provide opportunity for players. This means an underlying economic / warfare AI and the associated trimmings and abstractions. Again, exceedingly difficult to balance on a random map.


-You can leave your kingdom whenever you want to
-If a king hasn't been online for a week, he can be voted off his throne
-I might include some npcs, although the fact might be that at a point everyone will be a king.

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If a king hasn't been online for a week, he can be voted off his throne


I don't like that idea. It almost forces the player to log in constantly, which not all players can do (because of real life) or want to. While that is fine and dandy, in just about every other MMO, not logging in causes your characters progress to stagnate while everybody else progresses further without you. In your game, not logging it could cause your characters progress to backtrack -- very undesirable. This is one reason why the balancing issue is so tricky.

Quote:

You need resources to build walls, houses, lumber camps ect (more about this later). You can chop down trees, hunt deers and other animals with your bow and mine stone with a pickaxe. You can only carry 1 resource at a time, and you need to drop it off at a place where the resource is needed (this is always a building site or a storage site).


I think this is far too much micro-management to be interesting. This should not be done by players at all (directly); especially not if only players can do it. Nobody will want to be the wood-gatherer for the king. NPCs should do the actual work, probably.

Quote:

There are no rules (you can kill anyone, even from your own kingdom/alliance),


"No rules" means you open yourself up to serious potential unrest (and unbalance) due to PvP/griefing.

Overall, the ideas are interesting, and could work (perhaps even more-or-less as they stand) as part of a larger system of game mechanics. However, as the central core of a game I think they're too open to imbalance, exploitation and elitism as it stands now. You have to consider that it is basically human nature (or at least, the nature of most MMO players) to want to be "at the top" and if only one (or a select few) people can get there, or if the turnaround of the players "at the top" is really quick, you're facing the potential to lose a lot of customers.

EDIT: Listen to winterdyne. He's knows his stuff (certainly better than I do, in this particular area).

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Original post by jpetrie
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If a king hasn't been online for a week, he can be voted off his throne


I don't like that idea. It almost forces the player to log in constantly, which not all players can do (because of real life) or want to. While that is fine and dandy, in just about every other MMO, not logging in causes your characters progress to stagnate while everybody else progresses further without you. In your game, not logging it could cause your characters progress to backtrack -- very undesirable. This is one reason why the balancing issue is so tricky.

Quote:

You need resources to build walls, houses, lumber camps ect (more about this later). You can chop down trees, hunt deers and other animals with your bow and mine stone with a pickaxe. You can only carry 1 resource at a time, and you need to drop it off at a place where the resource is needed (this is always a building site or a storage site).


I think this is far too much micro-management to be interesting. This should not be done by players at all (directly); especially not if only players can do it. Nobody will want to be the wood-gatherer for the king. NPCs should do the actual work, probably.

Quote:

There are no rules (you can kill anyone, even from your own kingdom/alliance),


"No rules" means you open yourself up to serious potential unrest (and unbalance) due to PvP/griefing.

Overall, the ideas are interesting, and could work (perhaps even more-or-less as they stand) as part of a larger system of game mechanics. However, as the central core of a game I think they're too open to imbalance, exploitation and elitism as it stands now. You have to consider that it is basically human nature (or at least, the nature of most MMO players) to want to be "at the top" and if only one (or a select few) people can get there, or if the turnaround of the players "at the top" is really quick, you're facing the potential to lose a lot of customers.

EDIT: Listen to winterdyne. He's knows his stuff (certainly better than I do, in this particular area).


- A good king comes online at least 1 time a week. If he's going on vacation he can simply make one of his lords a temporary king.
-You've got a point there. At least the resource gathering should be done by npcs, but blacksmiths and some other professions should be player-only.
-I think players will eventually make their own rules.. but ofcourse, this needs to be proven.

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-I think players will eventually make their own rules.. but ofcourse, this needs to be proven.


How will they make those rules? Will there be a complex scripting system that suitably-high-ranked players (lords, kings) can build "laws" with, and assign/hire/etc NPC (not players, due to potential for abuse) to police the kingdom and enforce those laws? If so, how to do prevent this system from being exploitable both in terms of prevent scripting errors that cause infinite loops (etc) and in terms of unfair rules like "upon entering my kingdom you must pay dues of 5,000 gold, or be killed."

If not with some kind of "law scripting," how do you plan on allowing definition of rules and enforcement? You can't rely on players to all agree upon and "play fair" with meta-rules designed outside the framework of the game (such as, "it is a commonly agreed-upon rule that you don't engage in PvP with anyone more than five levels below you"); that's just a massive, massive hole for exploitation.

Quote:

A good king comes online at least 1 time a week. If he's going on vacation he can simply make one of his lords a temporary king.

That's not good enough. Constraints of real life, such as switching jobs, buying a house, having a baby, crunch time at work -- any and all of these are more important that participating in some game, and there's no excuse for requiring a paying customer (especially one paying monthly) to have to devote time to your game. Heck, that kind of situation is worse than a job, because at least you get paid for your job and not the other way around.

How do you propose to ensure that appointing a temporary king won't be an avenue for abuse (what if the temporary refuses to relinquish power)? Not all players will have a network of trusted friends, and especially in this kind of game it seems that backstabbing might be a popular sport.

The trick is to find the perfect balance between one extreme (the "coolness factor" one: only one person can ever be a king in the entire gameworld) and the other (the "fairness factor" one: with a modicum of effort, everybody can be a king somewhere). The implementation of the former is straightforward but fraught with problems. The implementation of the latter is less so ("kingdoms" might need to be islands accessed via boat from a neutral hub site, to overcome the challenges of limited prime geographical space), but not as fun (if everybody can be a king, what else is there that sets a player apart?). You've got to find a point in the middle somewhere, so that players at the bottom have someplace to go, players at the top have something to do, and nobody ever feels like the system is screwing them.

EDIT: Although, generally, I have very little interest in MMOs of any sort (and in fact, usually more disdain than apathy), I'm not poking at your ideas to be mean. Instead I'm trying to get you to think about them from angles you might not have considered yet, which in turn will force you to reevaluate or clarify portions of your idea until any (or most, or at least some) flaws are smoothed over. Although I probably come off harsh, I'm not trying to flame you.

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Original post by jpetrie
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-I think players will eventually make their own rules.. but ofcourse, this needs to be proven.


How will they make those rules? Will there be a complex scripting system that suitably-high-ranked players (lords, kings) can build "laws" with, and assign/hire/etc NPC (not players, due to potential for abuse) to police the kingdom and enforce those laws? If so, how to do prevent this system from being exploitable both in terms of prevent scripting errors that cause infinite loops (etc) and in terms of unfair rules like "upon entering my kingdom you must pay dues of 5,000 gold, or be killed."

If not with some kind of "law scripting," how do you plan on allowing definition of rules and enforcement? You can't rely on players to all agree upon and "play fair" with meta-rules designed outside the framework of the game (such as, "it is a commonly agreed-upon rule that you don't engage in PvP with anyone more than five levels below you"); that's just a massive, massive hole for exploitation.

Quote:

A good king comes online at least 1 time a week. If he's going on vacation he can simply make one of his lords a temporary king.

That's not good enough. Constraints of real life, such as switching jobs, buying a house, having a baby, crunch time at work -- any and all of these are more important that participating in some game, and there's no excuse for requiring a paying customer (especially one paying monthly) to have to devote time to your game. Heck, that kind of situation is worse than a job, because at least you get paid for your job and not the other way around.

How do you propose to ensure that appointing a temporary king won't be an avenue for abuse (what if the temporary refuses to relinquish power)? Not all players will have a network of trusted friends, and especially in this kind of game it seems that backstabbing might be a popular sport.

The trick is to find the perfect balance between one extreme (the "coolness factor" one: only one person can ever be a king in the entire gameworld) and the other (the "fairness factor" one: with a modicum of effort, everybody can be a king somewhere). The implementation of the former is straightforward but fraught with problems. The implementation of the latter is less so ("kingdoms" might need to be islands accessed via boat from a neutral hub site, to overcome the challenges of limited prime geographical space), but not as fun (if everybody can be a king, what else is there that sets a player apart?). You've got to find a point in the middle somewhere, so that players at the bottom have someplace to go, players at the top have something to do, and nobody ever feels like the system is screwing them.


- I meant "making own rules" as in calling people "n00b" when they do something others dislike. But ofcourse, you have a point there again, and I believe a balance can only be reached by much open beta-testing.
- I agree, but people that come online only 1 time a month wouldn't make very good kings anyway. I think they wouldn't make it to king anyway. Some people though, play every day. They would be very appropriate as a king.

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